Devotees have started arriving in large numbers to witness the celestial wedding of Lord Rama with his consort Seetha which would be held on Friday on the occasion of Sri Rama Navami at Sri Raja Rajeshwara Swamy devasthanam in Vemulawada of Karimnagar district.

Packed temple town

From Thursday onwards, the devotees from far flung places of the region started arriving and occupying the places to witness the celestial wedding. The temple town is packed with the arrival of hordes of pilgrims.

The celestial wedding of Lord Rama with Seetha is celebrated with a difference at the Vemulawada temple shrine. Here, the devotees of Lord Shiva including men, women and children marry Shiva during the celestial wedding of Lord Rama.

These devotees called as ‘Brides of Lord Shiva’ take a dip in dharmagundam (holy tank) and decorate themselves as brides by smearing their face with turmeric paste. They wear new clothes, carry a trishul (trident), the tool of Lord Shiva, which is decorated with colourful bright flowers and tied with a bell. They also place jaggery and jeera paste on their heads as brides and also carry a bag containing rice mixed with turmeric called as ‘thalambralu’. These brides of Lord Shiva watch the celestial wedding of Rama and Shiva by shaking the trishul tied with bells. After the celestial wedding, they sprinkle the thalambralu and declare that their marriage process with Lord Shiva was completed and distribute kumkum among other devotees. It is believed that the pilgrims marry Lord Shiva during Sri Rama Navami as part of the ritual to get rid of diseases and to get the blessings of Shiva for their wellbeing and prosperity.

The temple authorities said that they had made elaborate arrangements for the occasion and added that they were expecting several thousands of pilgrims for the wedding ceremony.